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Re: [fedora-virt] Distributing Fedora 11 Created Virtual Machines

On 05/26/2009 05:35 AM, Daniel P. Berrange wrote:
On Sun, May 24, 2009 at 09:40:01PM -0400, Robert L Cochran wrote:
I have a virtual machine created on Fedora 11 which runs Ubuntu 9.04. I
have some more customizations to do with the machine, such as getting it
to speak to (FTDI 232R-based) USB devices. When that is done, I would
like to copy the virtual machine to a USB flash drive and postal mail
that to a teacher. The scenario I'm envisioning is that the teacher can
then import the virtual machine and play it on his or her computer --
whatever that computer is, perhaps a Windows machine running VirtualBox
or VMWare. Not necessarily a machine running Fedora 11, you see. Now we
have my first question: can she run my virtual machine on another
virtual machine manager, which is not necessarily a Fedora product?

There's no easy answer to that question. it really depends how you
configured the virtual machine, and the OS installed inside it. For
example if you configured 'virtio' disks, then you'll likely have
trouble making it work in VMWare or VirtualBox. To a certain extent
Linux can cope with hardware changing&  automatically reconfigure
itself, but it depends on exactly how well the distro in question
is put together.   The only way to be sure of success is to actually
test your viurtual machine image in VirtalBox&  VMWare yourself
and fixing any portability problems you encounter.

To go on with the story I'd like the teacher to add her customizations
to the Ubuntu virtual machine, then she in turn will deploy that to
students. They would copy the virtual machine to their computers
(whatever those are) and play them on those computers. These will
probably be whatever computers the school has an d/or whatever computers
the student can afford to pay for. Could this work as well?

Again you're looking at the same problem of whether the guest OS will
automatically reconfigure itself for the different hardware or not,
but with the added problem that you'll be unable to test it yourself.
You also have the issue of how exactly they'll get the image off the
USB stick and onto the physical machine.

This is not an altogether impossible problem, but do be aware of the
scope of potential problems you may encounter.  For Fedora we
distribute a Live CD image which is put together such that it'll
boot successfull under any common hardware, physical or virtual.
It also includes a mini installer, which lets you copy the LiveCD
image over to the real OS.  Rather than building a custom virtual
machine image and then copying around the disk image, I think you'd
be better off taking a Live CD image, and tailoring what's included
in that. Since that already has been designed with hardware portability
in mind.

Suppose the answer is no they cannot play a Fedora 11-created virtual
machine on their own virtualization software. Is it possible to take the
virtual machine file and clone (part of?) it to a hard drive such that
Ubuntu can be booted from the hard drive?

Ubuntu questions are best asked on Ubuntu mailing lists. For Fedora we
have a Live CD image that can be tailored to do the kind of thing you
are after, more or less just be tweaking the kickstart file used to
build it.


Thank you, Dan, for taking the time to answer this for me. I guess I'm going to have to greatly simplify this because I've never met the other person, and I'm not sure how much fiddling and adjusting he will accept from me. And there's always the issue that I know little of Fedora's virtualization internals. I think my best bet might be to set Ubuntu up on a laptop and then loan him the laptop for a while. I'll see if he can accept Fedora 11, too. A little cloning here, a little cloning there...


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